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Retailer’s Extranet to Link 12,000 Vendors [LinkAGE / General Electric]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
LinkAGE: News about Electronic Commerce
General Electric

If you need a new pair of running shoes or a 96-pack of disposable (diapers, you might make a quick trip to your neighborhood Target store. However, if you are one of the 12,000 vendors that supply goods to the five retail store chains owned by Dayton Hudson Corporation—Target, Mervyn’s California, Dayton’s, Hudson’s, and Marshall Field’s—you can soon do business with the fifth-largest retailer in the United States simply by taking a trip down die information superhighway.

Thanks to GE Information Services, Dayton Hudson has a new Extranet, an Internet-based network that links companies with their trading partners.

“When it’s up and running at full capacity by mid-1999, the GE system will enable about 12,000 Dayton Hudson vendors to do business online,” says Rachelle Chase, director of electronic commerce services at Dayton Hudson.

About 600 companies are currently being registered on the new computerized system, says Brian Pinci, GE program manager for Internet solutions and professional services.

GE InterBusiness Partnership is the foundation of Dayton Hudson’s vendor Extranet. The first commercially available Extranet service, GE InterBusiness Partner leverages Internet technology to create a private Web site or community for a company’s employees, customers, and suppliers to exchange information. GE has posted on the Web the Dayton Hudson Vendor Partner Manual—a thick book that the retailer formerly updated and printed quarterly.

Now, Dayton Hudson simply updates the Web version, and vendors can download the new information.

In addition to enabling vendors to do business more easily with the retail giant on its Extranet, GE has saved Dayton Hudson money by providing exclusive Value Added Network (VAN services to its trading partners. Dayton Hudson, which had $27.7 billion in
revenue last year, has been automated since 1986. However, it used a handful of service providers, including GE, to help process its electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions.

The three corporate divisions—Target, Mervyn’s California, and the three department stores—used different systems, and that was an expensive set-up. So in 1997, Dayton Hudson consolidated its suppliers and began migrating its EDI business to GE. As a result, Dayton Hudson has reduced overall EDI processing expense.

“Since consolidating VAN services with GE, we have saved over 50 percent on EDI processing costs,” says Chase. “We no longer need to have a unique process for each firm that we do business with.”


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